New opportunity to comment on Surrey Heath ward boundaries

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce, [click on image to link to the LGBC website]

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has opened a new phase of public consultation in its review of Surrey Heath Borough Council’s ward boundaries.

The consultation focuses on new proposals for ward boundaries in the Old Dean, St Pauls and central parts of Camberley.

Local people have until 10 July 2017 to have their say on the proposals before the Commission finalises its recommendations for new wards for the whole borough.

Earlier this year, the Commission held a public consultation on proposals for new ward boundaries across Surrey Heath. The Commission has listened to the views put to it during consultation and now proposes to make changes to the plans to reflect local evidence. Due to the significance of the proposed changes in Camberley, the Commission is opening an extra phase of consultation in those areas to see what local people think of the new recommendations.

The consultation is limited to the Commission’s new proposals in Camberley. Details of the recommendations, including maps of the proposals, are available on the Commission’s website at www.lgbce.org.uk or at the dedicated review page for the electoral review of Surrey Heath at www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/south-east/surrey/surrey-heath.

Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We listened carefully to all the views put to us on new ward boundaries earlier this year and have made changes to the original recommendations.

“There were some strong arguments made to us that the A30 provided a clearer boundary between Old Dean and St Pauls wards than the railway line as we proposed earlier this year. We have therefore redrawn the ward boundaries in the central parts of Camberley so that the A30 continues to be the northern boundary of St Pauls ward with Old Dean.

“We have also made amendments to the proposed Town ward so that it would include the Crawley Hill area. As a result of the proposed change, we are recommending that the resulting ward should be called Town and Crawley Hill ward.

“We are asking local people to log on to our website to tell us what they think about these proposals before we publish final recommendations for the whole borough in August.”

Residents can have their say in writing:
The Review Officer (Surrey Heath)
LGBCE
14th floor, Millbank Tower
London
SW1P 4QP

Or email: reviews@lgbce.org.uk

A conspiracy theory behind a notice at Polling Stations

I’ve stood outside many a polling station in my time. At the recent General Election I saw a notice outside the polling station I was at that I’d not seen previously. The photo below shows the notice, which says,

For ease of writing and reliability, pencils are provided in the polling booths,

However, voters may use their own pens or other writing implements if they prefer.

Why is this notice necessary? It seems there’s a conspiracy theory behind the need for the notice [BBC report of November 2016 gives some background], described in most daily newspapers during the election, and HERE in the Daily Telegraph, an extract of which is,

….. some voters – especially certain supporters of Brexit – were urging people to use a pen to cast their vote lest their pencilled choice was rubbed out and altered.

Among the wild theories last year was the suggestion that pencil-written ballot papers may be erased as part of an MI5 conspiracy to remain in the EU.

The theory emerged after a YouGov poll asked people about “some things that people have said about the EU referendum campaign”, including “it is likely that the EU referendum will be rigged”.

Listening to Boris Johnson and Theresa May at a campaign rally

Yours truly got an invitation to attend a Conservative campaign rally, held in an empty warehouse/office building in the Slough Trading Estate.

My was I thankful it was held indoors, as queuing to get in was mostly in the rain – did take my brolly, for which I was thankful.

Boris was the warm-up speaker for Theresa May, and frequently referred to his script. Theresa May, impressively, spoke without a script, covering a lot of political issues. Good to be close-by both Boris and the PM, and to hear them speak. It’s easy to criticise politicians for what they say, and the way they say it – however, it takes no little courage and emotional energy to deliver a political speech with an audience so close to you. In the BBC’s Ben Wright photo of the rally, I’m in the front to the right, though not visible – wasn’t keen to be behind holding a placard, as wanted to see their faces.

I’ve not been as politically active at this election as I have in the past, so was pleased to get an invite. The rally was well organised with refreshments and biscuits available when inside the venue – pleased to say there were bourbon biscuits on offer – though not so many for those following me.

Predicted Parliamentary constituency election results at ward level

My dear wife found the Seat Explorer in the Electoral Calculus website, which gives ward by ward predictions for every parliamentary constituency. It’s a well-presented and easy to use resource, and is well worth time, for political nerds, having a wander around.

Below is their ward predictions for the Surrey Heath constituency. I ‘ll compare their predication to the result, and show them both here. [Click on the image to go directly to the website]